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February 28, 2017

It's expensive to be here, but we're #1

It ranks 47th in affordability but when more than 60 other metrics were applied Massachusetts emerged as the best state in the country, according to rankings released on Tuesday.

The state's supreme billing was propelled by a number one ranking in education and number two in health care, metrics that were given more weight by analysts at U.S. News & World Report based on a survey of what matters most to people.

New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington rounded out the top five.

Louisiana was ranked the worst state, followed by Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama and New Mexico.

Analysts also ranked governments in the 50 states and Massachusetts finished sixteenth. It finished in the top ten for "state integrity" and "budget transparency" but its overall government ranking was pulled down by a 21 ranking for digitalization and a 29 ranking for "budget stability."

The Warren Group reported Tuesday that 3,621 single-family homes were sold in Massachusetts in January, up 5.5 percent from January 2016 and the highest number for the month since January 2005. The median sale price was $342,500, a 7 percent increase from $320,000 in January 2016 and the highest January median sale price since prices reached $349,000 in 2006.

A Metropolitan Area Planning Council report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that inequities facing low-income households and people of color in metro Boston have remained the same or worsened, despite an improving economy, five years after the disparities were outlined in a 2011 report. 

The council's updated report found increasing segregation between whites and Latinos, worsening youth asthma rates and growing disparities, increasing polarization between the lowest income households and the wealthiest households, declining labor force participation rates for workers without college degrees, and more adults over 65 working through their traditional retirement years.

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